Exponential Sales Blog

Unfreeze/Refreeze: A Simple Change Model for Social Selling

The unfreeze/refreeze model is one of the simplest models for understanding organizational or social change.  Kurt Lewin developed it; a physicist turned social scientist.  Because of his professional background, he used physical science analogies to help explain social phenomena.

His analogy deals with changing the shape of a block of ice.  Say your brother-in-law has a large cube-shaped block of ice.  He brought it home with the intention of making a round tire-shaped ring of ice with cherries in it to float in a big punch bowl.  You tell him, “Hey, that’s no good, it’s the wrong shape.”  So, now he wants to change the shape.

If he attempts to force the ice into a round ring, he’s not going to have much success.  He can squeeze it as much as he wants, or pound it with a hammer.  Most likely it will shatter.  If he tries to use force to make the change, it will be resisted.  Why?  Because that block of ice is a system made up of interrelated H2O crystals in a latticework that will resist being changed.  So, what can he do to make the frozen H2O more receptive to a change in shape?  Obviously, he can make it liquid.  He melts it in a large pan on the stove and it ends up as a great big puddle of water.  At least now, it is in a form that is amenable to change.  But the shape he wants it to be in is a round ring.  So, he pours the liquid water into a circular mold.  It’s still the same chemical compound as it was when it was ice, but now it has a new shape.  Unfortunately, it won’t hold this shape.  If he picks it up (as your crazy brother-in-law might do), it will pour all over the floor.  In order to make it keep its new shape, he refreezes it.  He adds cherries to it and puts it in the freezer.  After he refreezes it, he can take it out and plop it into his punch bowl.  He has successfully converted a cube of H2O into a tire-shaped ring of ice with cherries around its circumference.

The three stages he went through are unfreezing, change and refreezing.  You can use the same three stages to describe any change in an organization, and especially a social change.  The problem is, in an organization, we often forget one of the three steps.  Typically, we forget Step One, or Step Three.  We remember Step Two — we make the change — but we are never successful because there are three stages to consider, not one.

Step One:  Unfreezing

How do you unfreeze a sales organization so that it will accept change?  In other words, how do you make the sales selling system receptive to change?  How can the sales selling system be made to want to change if you are trying to install for example, a Social Selling program?  The first thing you have to do is make the sales organization receptive to change, otherwise your sales organization, like that block of ice, will naturally resist change.

One strategy is focus on an area where there is already some feeling that things aren’t working out right, that is, to go where the hurt is.  That where it will be more likely that change will be accepted.  Another way of putting it is, “People gotta wanna change,” or there will be this natural resistance.  Then go beyond it.  Go not only to where the hurt is, but also to where the hurt should be felt, but may not be.  What can you do to make your sales people recognize the need for change where it ought to be recognized?  How can you get your sales people to see that there is something wrong, that there is need for change?

 

The Unfreezing Process

Let’s take a look at today’s sales situation. Today cold calling, spamming emails, unannounced sales calls and networking are ignored and distained. Companies are not providing their sales teams with the tools, know how and training to deal with this whole new world. So how do we unfreeze the current process?

Feeding back sales people’s opinions is one good way to begin the unfreezing process.  The feedback technique makes the organization aware that there are problems, that people are upset, that morale is low, or that work attitudes and performance are not what they ought to be.  That’s a form of unfreezing.

In a company, you could set up a committee to investigate a problem, to see if they can get enough data to unfreeze the organization.  Or you could use a consultant to do the job.

Unfreezing is often missed in training programs, and particularly in sales training.  People are simply sent to courses, but they don’t see any need to change and so unfreezing does not occur.  They are not receptive to learning.  Someone else is simply telling them that they should change their ways, but they don’t see any need to do so.  Part of the problem is that the person may perceive the training program as focusing on changing her or him.  In this person’s view, someone is saying, you have been doing the job wrong and you have to change.”  Naturally, there is resistance. It is preferable by far, when the person sees it as an opportunity to learn new skills, to improve himself or herself or to do the job even better.

 

Management training often misses the mark because the person who is to learn new skills, or the organization that is to learn new skills wasn’t unfrozen.  Some effort must be made to put the organization or individual in a state more receptive to change.  They gotta wanna change.

Step Two:  Making the Change

In Step 2 you actually make the change.  You propose the solution to the problem (a Social Selling System) that you may have identified or highlighted in Step 1.  Then you get people doing it.  You start your diet.  You learn new skills.  You make the change.  Installing this change is the subject of Step 3.

Step Three:  Refreezing

This step is often missed.  We get an employee to change his or her work habits, but then don’t refreeze that change.  We put in a new Social Selling system in an organization, but we don’t refreeze the change.  If we don’t refreeze, the change is likely to be temporary.

What’s refreezing?  We have to do something to the system or the organization so that the change becomes a permanent part of its operation.  We refroze the water so that it would hold its shape permanently.  You have to do the same thing in an organization.  Just because the change happened once doesn’t mean it will continually happen or that it will maintain itself.  You’ve got to cement the change into the sales organization’s culture — into the way things are done in the sales organization.

This step is usually missed in management training programs.  We teach people skills; we hope they will use them back on the job but we don’t build the use of these skills into the standard operating procedures of the sales organization.  Suppose your organization wanted to implement Affirmative Action.  How do you make the basic concepts and practices of Affirmative Action a permanent part of the organization’s work patterns?  If you have a zero defects manufacturing program that you want to implement in your manufacturing plant, how do you make that change of focus in production a permanent part of the way things are done?  By refreezing.

 

 

Guidelines for Change

The strength of the unfreeze, change, refreeze model is in its simplicity.  I think it gives very clear guidelines for implementing change.  You’ve got to go through all three stages.  Some stages may be very quick.  You may go through the unfreezing stage almost instantaneously with somebody by saying, “Unless you change, you lose your job.”  That may put the person into a state rather quickly of wanting to accept change, but it is still a stage and it can’t be missed.

You have to get the sales organization receptive to change.  People must see that there is a need for change.  Then you make the change.  Once it’s done, do something to build it in as a permanent part of the organization.  With skill training, where employees learn specific skills to use on the job, refreezing can happen simply because the employee uses the skills.  The feedback the employee gets is that the skills work.  The results are positive and the employee is more likely to continue using his or her new skills because they have been reinforced.  That is why quick successful use of skills after a training program helps to refreeze change into the individual’s personal practices.

 

Written by Richard Doyle — @Deverons1 || @ExpoSalesLtd

What is “Social”? And why don’t we “Get it”?

From the organizations perspective, Social is the empowerment of all of our people to communicate far beyond our brick and mortar walls. Social is, in fact, communication.

Whether we are simply choosing to ignore it’s power and impact, or whether we are truly leveraging this transformational change is the key question. For those organizations that “get it”, the world of growth and opportunity is already having an amazing impact. For those just starting the journey the results and changes are right around the corner.

Most organizations, however, still don’t “get it”. In fact many so-called social marketing companies who provide technology, still don’t “get it”. Frankly this amazes me — That a technology company providing tools for Social does not themselves as yet fully embrace it!

I would name names, but you know who you are! All one has to do is take a look at the profiles of your key teams and the content you are providing (outside of advertising and sales based marketing…).

Most sales professionals are starting to read the writing on the wall, but sadly (and clearly) the “C suite” is not yet getting it. Without this critical group understanding and embracing the power and relevance of this new phenomenom most organizations will arrive at the party long after it’s over!

I could list all the reports from Gartner, Harvard Business review and many others, but these are now common knowledge and readily available to anyone paying attention.

The opportunity to lead and own your markets has never been offered up so easily. Most of your sales leaders know this, even your marketing people know this. So why are most executives, owners, stakeholders and senior managers resisting and even ignoring social?

The answer is the same as it is for all disruptive forces, “Change”. Even as many companies see their cost of sales continue to rise against lower revenue forecasts, they continue to throw more money in the wrong pot. Why? Because they always have and change is tough. It takes true leadership to stand up and say, hey, what if we pulled some of our budgeted resources from trade shows & PPC marketing and actually trained our organization to be “Social”?

I am throwing out the challenge to all organizations willing to listen.

Is 2018 just another year of allocating your resources as you always have? Or will you lead the way and harness the power of “Social” to truly drive exponential growth in 2018?

 

Written by Thomas Ross  — @TRsocialselling || @ExpoSalesLtd

Is your website your best salesperson?

This is one of the key questions we ask clients as they begin their journey into the world of “Social” and social sales.

While our sales teams should be leading the way, our organizational online presence is still critically important! Further, its the combination of our sales teams and their social presence, along with that of all the individuals of our organization that makes us an organic and human organism.

Our clients, customers, prospects, friends and allies all have one thing in common, they are connected with us. Often this begins by finding us through this modern buying journey of searching for something or someone online. This first introduction to us can begin by seeing our website and all the great people on our team OR it can come from the great content which we are providing to our teams to be part of the content they too are contributing. This happens via links back to our website.

This is where things can become interesting or where sadly as in most cases, where leads go to die!

If we are not cultivating and developing our website interactions we are truly missing what we should be coveting most of all. For many companies this one of the missing pieces they need to address immediately if they are truly to leverage the world of social to properly connect with today’s new engaged and enlightened customers.

So what does this mean and how do we know if our website is active as the critical link in the social chain that it is?

How much interaction is taking place on your website currently? (if you don’t know the answer, that is the answer!)

  • How many leads come from your website?
  • Is your sales team actively working with your marketing team to maximize your social reach?
  • Are your teams getting consistent “inbound” activity from your website and marketing?
  • Do you know what “inbound” is?

So these are but of a start to the conversation which will help you either start or continue the journey of becoming a truly “Social” organization.

This is not a drill, the sirens of the future are blaring, can you hear them?

 

Written by Thomas Ross  — @TRsocialselling || @ExpoSalesLtd

Fix the System, Not the Sales People

Organizational leaders ranging from military commanders 4000 years ago to the leaders of today’s corporations – commercial, government, even professional sports organizations – learned that the cardinal advantage of an organization is that success can come from a group of average, competent people working together. In fact, the world’s best are often not successful working in an organization. Being able to work as a contributing member of a team with personal skills that improve over time and guided by effective processes and procedures, are more likely the determinants of success than individually superior skill-set and knowledge.

I have worked with a number of companies and sales teams over the years. This age-old lesson has been ignored by most, who promote a politically correct but largely unsupported thesis that success in organizations comes from selecting only the best people possible and weeding out the less than exemplary, as if to purify a gene pool.  They rank sales employees and dismiss the bottom level; using an array of tests and measures with questionable validity.

The facts and experience show that this philosophy isn’t very successful in strengthening organizational performance.  Many times, the results are the opposite.

Don’t The Best Organizations Have the Best People?

The assumption is that quality organizations require quality people, and so leaders should make sure that only top-notch skillful people are recruited, selected and placed in the organization.  Great people will produce great results, and especially when they feel engaged and have the freedom to perform.  The flaw in this strategy is that it overemphasizes the personal influence of individuals over the culture and design of the organization.

Today as I continue to work with companies and their sales teams, I am stuck by the desire of the sales professionals to be successful. They want to deliver the revenue objectives that the company has set, however they are handcuffed by the fact that the world of sales is changing constantly. The sales world today is one of social selling, but leadership is not in tune with the changes and can’t understand when sales continue to stagnate or decline. Management’s expectation is that what worked previously will continue to be the method that will solve today’s problems. Well, if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got!

It’s Not the Sales Team

Smart, skillful, “qualified,” eager-to-please sales teams are of course very beneficial to an organization, but they’re of little value to the organization if they are handcuffed to the usual cold calling, email spamming and unannounced sales calls.

Clear, unambiguous, timely, appropriate direction is critical, but also of little value if it’s not changing to accommodate the new world of Social Selling.  If the direction they are given is inappropriate, incorrect or unacceptable, then corrections must be implemented quickly or the organization is spending resources to go in the wrong direction to deliver the same or failing results.

Let’s assume you have a good sales team, however;

  • Good performance is not going to continue if your sales team doesn’t have the right tools to do the job in the new world of Social Selling.
  • Good performance is not going to continue if your sales team doesn’t know how to do the job in the new Social Selling environment.
  • Good performance is not going to continue if your sales team doesn’t understand why they have to change in the new world of Social Selling.
  • Good performance is not going to continue if your sales team doesn’t understand what they have to do to be successful the in the new world of Social Selling.

In order for your sales team to optimize their selling process, the organization’s top leadership also needs to be ensuring that the “sales organization” works; that the required processes /systems /procedures /tools are in place (that the machine is properly designed and constructed) so that sales team can run it.  Like a poorly designed or broken car, it still won’t work properly no matter how skillful the driver is without the proper process.

Today your company needs a Social Selling Process. Social Media is the name of the game. It is a fact that buying decisions are already 57% of the way down the road before your sales team ever hears about them. It is a fact that 75% of vendors have been vetted through internet research. If you expect your sales team to be effective using the tried and true, they are bound to fail because your sales process no longer works!

How many cold calls have you answered recently? How many spamming emails do you get that make you angry? When was the last time you stopped by a potential customers office unannounced and were able to get past the gatekeeper?

A good Social Selling Process gets your sales team around all of those situations. It helps them create relationships with prospective and current customers. It helps them become educators so that when a company is looking for the expert, they come to your company. It makes them a part of the 75% of vendors being considered.

Quit treating symptoms and get to the root of the problem. The problem is not your sales team, it is your antiquated sales system. Your people have the ability, they do not have to be superstars, they just need the support mentioned above to take them to the next level. Help them become the sales team they envision of themselves.

Great Systems are More Important than Great People

For the CEO who thinks that the individual skills of the officers and the troops were the reason for their success — that’s rarely ever the case.  It’s the processes of the organization, resources and the discipline of the army that usually wins the war.

Publications on diagnosing employee performance problems emphasize that correcting the system (that generates performance problems) is the successful route to resolution and problem prevention; rather than blaming the individuals involved.

CEO’s miss the opportunity to strengthen and improve their sales organizations when they focus too much on addressing day-to-day employee performance problems.  Instead, the 30,000 foot perspective of the senior executive requires him or her to develop and implement a Social Selling System into the operations of the organization to prevent continued sales stagnation.

 

Written by Richard Doyle — @Deverons1 || @ExpoSalesLtd

Is Your Social Selling Process Developmentally Delayed?

A Developmentally Delayed Social Selling organization is one that is missing an effective Social Selling System and, as a result, its management and employees are seriously impeded in their attempts to be productive and successful in today’s new social world.

The organization typically faces a host of symptoms including :

  • Over-defensiveness as sales direction and accountability are ambiguous;
  • Increased revenue targets with no new tactics to achieve the increase;
  • Fear of change as even the status quo is uncertain;
  • Departmental silos and other forms of protectionism.

In a Developmentally Delayed Social Selling Organization, managers find themselves distracted from their necessary “30,000 foot” thinking, by having to spend their time trying to figure out how it is that the competition is beginning to get an edge. They run around barking out direction, identifying problems and getting people to perform processes that the organization has been doing for years.  The absence of an effective Social Selling System is a major barrier to implementing organizational change required to compete in the new Social world. It is becoming a significant threat to organizations and their leaders, especially newly appointed CEOs who are trying to put their stamp and vision on their new host.

Leaders Need to Manage

Findings now are that organizations are more effective when leadership behavior (influencing the actions, motivation and priorities of people) is diffused throughout organizations when a Social Selling System that is part of the organization’s culture.

I believe that many organizational leaders, especially those recruited externally, presume that the sales organization they now lead, actually works.  They assume that when they pronounce clear direction through a strategic plan, that the organization has the wherewithal to make it happen.  But all too often, the organization is a Social Selling delayed organization. If you are facing challenges similar to the SSO symptoms listed at the beginning of this article, you might consider to what extent your organization is Social Selling Delayed, and whether you need to look into implementing a Social Selling System as quickly as possible.  A Social Selling System needs to be part of your sales organization’s culture, and supported actively by you to make sure this happens.

CEOs ask me whether they really need to do this.  The answer is “yes” you do have to do this – this is part of the leader’s role.  Consider that your personal success as the CEO is dependent on your knowledge and skill at translating your intentions into reality.  You need to know enough to judge the effectiveness of the Social Selling System and assess its adherence and use by your direct subordinates.  And of course, you need to use it to manage your own direct reports, which includes the head of all departments.  If you’re the CEO or President, that is your job.

 

Written by Richard Doyle — @Deverons1 || @ExpoSalesLtd

Get Social or Say Goodbye

Using social media to deliver great customer service is no longer an option — it’s a must. Twitter reports that customer service interactions on social have jumped 250 percent in the past two years. Two-thirds of consumers are already using Twitter or Facebook for customer service. By 2020, Gartner predicts that 90 percent of brands will rely on social media in some capacity to manage their customer experience (CX) efforts.

Given that, what are you doing to enhance your social presence? Can you afford to keep saying “I’ll wait to see what happens”? Are you willing to let your competitor(s) get there first?

Cold Call Disconnect

This isn’t a case of being a first adopter anymore, trust me, your competitors are out there doing this. Social is here to stay. Don’t think that this is just a role for marketing either, it is a role that every person in your company can and should play. Don’t try and do it by yourself, if you had the people capable of implementing it, you would be doing this already.

Exponential Sales http://exponentialsales.com/ can help you get started, we have the experience and “World Class” partners Digital Leadership Associates http://www.social-experts.net/ to support you and help you take your business to the next level.

Written by Richard Doyle — @Deverons1 || @ExpoSalesLtd

Are Consultants including Social Media When Consulting?

Management consultants consider how their advice affects the six areas of management regardless of what specialization they bring to the table. The traditional six areas of management are strategy, operations, finance, human resources, marketing and information technology. The Digital Transformation is a major disruptor for all organizations so social media impacts every area of management, including strategy and governance.

Are you including social media when advising clients on strategy and governance?  If not, you should be.

A recent survey conducted by Cisco cited 45% of companies do not see digital disruption worthy of board-level attention, and 43 per cent either do not acknowledge the risks of digital disruption or have decided to not address it. [1]

We all know about organizations that missed the warning signs of digital transformation.  Blockbuster, Kodak, Polaroid, Barnes & Noble and Nortel are just a few examples of companies that ignored those warning signs.  The former and latter are bankrupt, the others are mere shadows of their former selves. Consider that Kodak invented digital photography!  Unbelievable!!   “Well”, you say, “Your examples have nothing to do with Social media!”  Jayson DeMers in Forbes identifies “7 Social Media Disruptions Your Business Needs to Prepare For”[2].  The point of Jayson’s article is that we’re due for a major disruption in social media that will have such major ramifications organizations will have to change their social media marketing strategy.  The very nature of “disruption” is that it disrupts without warning and the details of what gets disrupted aren’t known until AFTER.

So social media impacts strategy but what about governance?  Over the past decade, social media has made governance far more transparent.  In the pre-social media days, the number of people reading annual reports, researching SEDAR reports and corporate press releases was a fraction of today’s audience. Investors, employees and other stakeholders are on the receiving end of information from a variety of social media channels about the company, its directors, officers, key employees and regulators.  It isn’t sufficient for board members to merely understand compliance, financial performance and the risks of internet and social media.  A grasp of the psychology of human behavior, cultural conversation and sociology is now essential for directors of corporations.  Although five years old, the Global Corporate Governance Forum of the International Finance Corporation published a Private-Sector Opinion 27[3] paper that identifies key areas of impact on governance by social media:

  • New level of transparency
  • Empowered stakeholders
  • Rise of e-lobbying and e-advocacy
  • Immediacy of social media
  • A level playing field for business

The paper advises board to develop clear policies for:

  • Strategy
  • Company Culture and Leadership
  • Reputational Issues
  • Information Transparency and Disclosure
  • Crisis Policy

Today’s management consultant needs to up his/her game when it comes to the disruption of social media on an organization’s strategy and governance.

 

Written by Stuart McKelvie — @McKelviec || @ExpoSalesLtd

[1] http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/11/14/the-c-suite-paralysed-with-fear-finds-new-report-digital-transformation

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2017/02/02/7-social-media-disruptions-your-business-needs-to-prepare-for/#65d1538c78f8

[3] https://buff.ly/2iUUf75

 

Are You a Management Consultant in Denial over Social Media?

I am.

Just like the Internet, Social Media is a fad that will run its course and wind up in the dust bin of history just a few short years from now.  I recall sitting in a room of CPAs learning about social media and seeing the look of horror on my colleagues faces as they learned about YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The look of horror was, of course, due to the realization that employees are spending an inordinate amount of time “goofing off” on social media instead of working on client engagements and producing chargeable hours.  All they saw was the bottom line turning from black to red.  The next session at this conference was likely “How to Block Employees’ Access to the Internet …”.  I must confess that my initial reaction to what these accountants were seeing differed very little.  However, I believed that social media had to be a two-sided coin.  There must be an “upside” and a “downside”.

If you are still in denial, don’t be hard on yourself.  You are not alone.

“According to a global survey by Cisco, 45 per cent of companies do not see digital disruption as worthy of board-level attention. Furthermore, 43 per cent either do not acknowledge the risks of digital disruption or have decided to not address it. Only 25 per cent describe their approach to digital disruption as proactive and are willing to disrupt themselves in order to compete.”[1]

There are legion reasons to end your denial of the digital revolution.  Adam Gray (@AGSocialMedia) gently shouts to management, “ . . . 50% of the world’s population are on social networks. You know that 80%+ of top jobs are now filled via LinkedIn, you know that salespeople who use social selling techniques outperform those that don’t. You know that when you don’t have a strong social brand your business and you suffer because people jump to the wrong conclusion. You know all of this.”[2]  Adam is speaking directly to you and I.  Management consultants, and their clients, are facing a tsunami of change that could overtake any one of us more quickly than we care to believe.

The digital revolution, which includes the Internet of Things, Social Media, Social Selling and various new technologies, is societal transformation (ie. “social”) that’s not going away.  It is critical that consultants to management understand ALL functions of management are impacted by social.  From strategy to operations, finance to human resources, information technology to marketing—all are disrupted by the digital revolution.

Yes, the activities and processes of the marketing department are fundamentally changed by social.  But, similar dramatic changes are occurring within the rest of the company, as well.

Written by Stuart McKelvie — @McKelviec || @ExpoSalesLtd


[1] http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/11/14/the-c-suite-paralysed-with-fear-finds-new-report-digital-transformation

[2] http://www.social-experts.net/dla-australia-social-going-global/

 

 


Tony Chapman Is Right

I was reading a great post by Tony Chapman (@TonyChapman ) today regarding the current state of online shopping and how it is impacting the traditional brick and mortar stores. As an introduction, if you don’t know Tony, he was the CEO of Communique – Capital C and is a world renowned speaker and regarded as one of, if not the most knowledgeable marketers in Canada.

Tony’s comments resonated with me because I can remember the good old days when you shopped at the local corner store for everything. Yes, I am showing my age. Then came the malls and people deserted the local stores, then came Big Box and the demise of traditional retailing was further expedited.

Tony commented that social selling today is now eroding the brick and mortar as well. To quote him;

“Retailers are no longer in control of the game. Consumers are: Treating their phones like the world’s largest vending machine. Gaming the system through apps that inform them of their best deals. Demanding that conventional retailers match these deals.”

While I have empathy for his justifiable concern, the horse is out of the barn. And so, I draw a comparison to how we try and sell today. In my day, we used cold calling and personal visits to build our business. With the advent of email, we began to supplement the preceding with email requests. Like the local stores, malls, etc. those methods have also gone the way of the DoDo bird.

I know many readers will take exception with my comments, but they like many of the retailers that have gone belly up in the last few years, cannot see the forest for the trees. Social is here to stay. If you want to be successful in todays world of social media, you need to upgrade.

What do I mean by upgrading?

  1. Get a good social presence. Update your LinkedIn profile and develop it not to sell someone, but to tell them who you really are. You want to develop a relationship.
  2. Become an expert. You need to write articles and blogs and don’t sell people, just write on the subject at hand and educate. Once seen as an expert, people will explore your profile.
  3. Be active. This is not a once a month activity. You go to work everyday because that is how you build your business. Now you need to make social activity a part of the work day. If you think you don’t have the time, make it! This is an integral part of building your presence and if you don’t do it, the competition will.
  4. When you get inbound reply don’t just ignore it. Thank people for their comments, likes etc.

Tony’s comments about retail should be a sounding bell for every person who is in sales today. Social will not eliminate your job, it can only help you grow your sales channel if used effectively. If you choose to ignore it you will lose your job, not through elimination, but to someone who understands and embraces social. We will always need face to face sales. It is how we get to the face to face that will matter.

Written by Richard Doyle — @Deverons1 || @ExpoSalesLtd

DLA in Australia: Being Social, Going Global

Originally Posted on Social-Experts.net By Adam Gray | @AGSocialMedia

As I sit in a shopping centre in Melbourne in between meetings, I am spending a moment to reflect on where my life has gone…and how I got here. Why? Because perhaps as you in your business, despite your best efforts you simply cannot know where life is going to take you.

So, why am I here, 11,000 miles from home? Well, I am in Australia speaking at a couple of events, but whilst that’s very nice and quite exciting, I am here today because I am having new business meetings.

Developing a product for social selling

When Tim and I set up Digital Leadership Associates we were clear that there was a market for social media strategy, social selling and social media managed services delivered to a very high standard. So, we developed our “we do three things” product offering. And whilst we have worked very hard to develop that, to refine it and to perfect it, we certainly couldn’t have foreseen what was going to happen next.

Earlier in the year were approached by a sales training organisation in North America who wanted to sell our IP. This represented an entirely new direction for us and an unexpected one too. So, we began to turn our thinking and our methodologies from being “a programme” in to being “a product”.

This made us think about what we did and how we did it in a very different way because clearly there is a huge difference between me (or Tim or Alex or Peter) delivering a programme, versus someone else who isn’t us working on a different content and delivering that programme.

So, we needed to ensure that packaging what we did was as watertight as possible and relied on repeatable processes rather than inspiration and experience. What we do has improved as a result of this process and has become much more “repeatable” in terms of quality, timing and cost.

We completed this first deal just a couple of weeks ago and Exponential Sales has become our first distributor which is incredibly exciting and presents us with a huge opportunity too. We have the product (well, the first product…the social selling product) and we have the agreement and we have the marketing materials which means that we can scale quickly globally.

So, while I’m in Australia I’ve been having conversations with potential licensees over here too. Trying to find an organisation to lead the charge in to Australia.To be frank, I have been bowled over at the response I have had so far.

Taking a huge leap forward

Why am I telling you this? Because our business has taken a huge leap forward. We have signed a contract with a North American distributor and we are having conversations with organisations in Australia, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and we have more pending. We have transformed almost overnight from a small (but talented) team of social media experts in the UK to being an organisation which is expanding globally…and YOUR organisation can too.

We did this through social media. Of course. We’ve worked hard to develop a global presence for Digital Leadership Associates and for the people within it and we have. Exponential Sales found us through social media, they checked-us out through social media and they reached out to us through social media.

I’ve been in Australia (for this first time) for just six working days and I’ve been to Sydney and Melbourne and I’ve had (so far) 17 meetings and have even been videoed in for 9 x five-minute clips. I have had offers of help from almost everyone I’ve had a meeting with and offers of help from most of the people I’ve met socially and ALL of this has been facilitated, executed and followed-up on social. Every meeting that Tim and I have arranged out here has been created, prepped and warmed-up with social and those relationships will be maintained and developed with social.

You can do this too with your business. You can move from being a small player to being a key player. You can develop a global presence, you can become an influencer and you can travel the world developing your business ALL with social.

You knew this already right? You know that 50% of the world’s population are on social networks. You know that 80%+ of top jobs are now filled via LinkedIn, you know that salespeople who use social selling techniques outperform those that don’t. You know that when you don’t have a strong social brand your business and you suffer because people jump to the wrong conclusion. You know all of this.

So, start to make the move to social sooner rather than later.